Seeking out more about the 1972 contest?
On today's date in 1972, the Eurovision Song Contest took place for the first and only time in Edinburgh, the capital city of Scotland. With the help of some unique behind the scenes photos we recall the contest that produced some of the biggest international hits.
Originally RMC (Radio Monte-Carlo) winners of the 1971 Eurovision Song Contest wanted to host the 1972 event, and proposed an outdoor event to be held in June 1972. There was also a suitable hall being built, which RMC was also trying to get accelerated in time, however by July 1971 RMC finally declared that they were unable to organise the 1972 contest.
It was known that TVE (Spain) and ARD (Germany) as the second and third placed prize winners from 1971 would turn down the opportunity to stage the 1972 contest, and that the EBU was ‘calling loudly’ for volunteers. and once again the BBC decided to accept the challenge to organise the contest. Having narrowed the choice down to two possible venues, they opted to stage the contest for the first time in Edinburgh, in the Usher Hall.
The draw for the running order was made in London on Wednesday the 1st of December, 1971.
An experienced light entertainment director, Terry Hughes was appointed as Director for the contest, having previously worked on several high prestige British television programmes. As he explained in the forthcoming book "Songs For Europe - The United Kingdom at the Eurovision Song Contest - Volume Two - The 1970s"
"I’m sure the venue had already been decided on before I became involved, though I think it was my idea to have the jury in Edinburgh Castle, which I thought would be suitably different. They were always going to be in a different venue, as we simply didn’t have the room in the Usher Hall. I was instrumental in choosing Moira Shearer as the presenter; we had a short list and I pushed for her. I remember going to see her, and she was kind of reluctant at first, as she had never done anything like it before, but she was a lovely lady and brought an elegance and class to it, and she could speak enough French.
I really enjoyed the whole experience. It was so wonderful being up in Scotland. It was the only time that I had spent a great deal of time there, and I really liked it. I was surrounded by musicians, a great team, people from other countries who have stayed good friends and contacts, and it was great to be part of such an event."
Rehearsals commenced with the artists on Wednesday 22nd of March, with each country having an initial 50 minute rehearsal with the 44 piece orchestra.
Have a look at our 1972 behind-the-scenes gallery
- Germany: Nur Die Liebe Läßt Uns Leben sung by Mary Roos
- France: Comé-Comédie sung by Betty Mars
- Ireland: Ceol An Ghrá sung by Sandie Jones
- Spain: Amanece sung by Jaime Morey
- United Kingdom: Beg, Steal Or Borrow sung by The New Seekers
- Norway: Småting sung by Grethe Kausland & Benny Borg
- Portugal: A Festa Da Vida sung by Carlos Mendes
- Switzerland: C'est La Chanson De Mon Amour sung by Véronique Müller
- Malta: L-Imħabba sung by Helen & Joseph
- Finland: Muistathan sung by Päivi Paunu & Kim Floor
- Austria: Falter Im Wind sung by Milestones
- Italy: I Giorni Dell'arcobaleno sung by Nicola di Bari
- Yugoslavia: Muzika I Ti sung by Tereza Kesovija
- Sweden: Härliga Sommardag sung by Family Four
- Monaco: Comme On S'aime sung by Anne-Marie Godart & Peter MacLane
- Belgium: À La Folie Ou Pas Du Tout sung by Serge & Christine Ghisoland
- Luxembourg: Après Toi sung by Vicky Leandros
- Netherlands: Als Het Om De Liefde Gaat sung by Sandra & Andres
Several artists had participated in the contest before, apart from the eventual winner, Vicky Leandros (see below), there was Tereza Kesovija who had sung for Monaco in1966, Carlos Mendes for Portugal Portugal in 1968 and Sweden's Family Four were representing their country for the second year in succession.
Each country had two jury members, one aged between 16 and 25 and one aged between 26 and 55. They each awarded 1 to 5 points for each song, other than the song of their own country. They cast their votes immediately after each song was performed and the votes were then collected and counted. They voted in blocks of three countries at a time in each round of voting, therefore making six rounds of voting in total. For full details of the scoreboard see our History page for 1972.
Luxembourg took the lead in the very first round of and retained it throughout the voting, with only the Netherlands coming close to challenging them after the second round of voting when they came within a point of the leaders.
The winning score of 128 points was identical to that achieved by Monaco in the 1971 contest, with the United Kingdom once again finishing in its customary second place, with The New Seekers and Beg, Steal Or Borrow, which became a huge hit for the group, reaching number two in the UK charts.
Watch The New Seekers
About the winner
Vicky Leandros was born in 1949 on the island of Corfu in Greece, into a musical family. Her father Leo Leandros was already an established artist and composer. Vicky grew up in Germany and started singing at a young age, releasing her first single in 1965.
In 1967, Vicky represented Luxembourg in Vienna with the song, L'amour Est Bleu, which came 4th. It was a however, a huge hit all over world and has been covered by many artists.
Vicky continued to release singles and appeared on a number of TV shows, including hosting a show on the BBC in the UK called Music My Way, before once again representing Luxembourg in 1972 with the song Après Toi which was a huge hit for Vicky and in total she recorded seven different language versions for the worldwide market, and the song sold six million copies and it helped pave the way for a long career, which saw her have success in Europe, Canada, the USA and Japan in particular.
Throughout the 80s and 90s Vicky's success continued, and she notably recorded the German version of the Titanic sound track, My Heart Will Go On in the late 90s.
Most recently, Vicky was elected councillor in the town of Piraeus in Greece and subsequently became the deputy mayor. She resigned from this position in 2008. Her career as a singer has also continued, releasing her own material and taking part in the 2006 German final with the song, Don't Break My Heart. She continues to record and perform all over Europe.
Did you know?
- The interval act wasn't specially filmed for the contest. It was stock footage taken from the Edinburgh Military Tattoo shot in 1968.
- 1971 winner Séverine is infamously seen glancing down at her watch before the entry of Monaco. However it was in the camera script that they would cut to her at this point.
- Claude Lombard who represented Belgium in the 1968 contest is listed as one of the backing vocalists for the Belgian entry À La Folie Ou Pas Du Tout.
- Luxembourg and Germany shared the same five backing vocalists.
- The contest was broadcast in 28 countries.
- The BBC spent £81,000 on the contest.
Many thanks to The Scotsman Publications Ltd for their assistance and allowing us to include the behind-the-scenes photos from the 1972 Eurovision Song Contest in this article.